We seek to deliver holistic skills development and education interventions that harness the healing power of nature, to equip vulnerable youth to be economically active and environmentally responsible citizens.   

At the core of our interventions are carefully developed physical and psychological wellness programmes which aim to provide specific support to the participants as they complete the employability, skills development or vocational training aspects depending on which project they are enrolled in. Furthermore, Wilderness Foundation Africa has seen just how powerfully young people respond to spending time in wilderness areas and based on their long history of using the healing power of nature for personal and social transformation, the Foundation has integrated various levels of Wilderness Trail activities into each of the main holistic intervention projects.

Through our Youth Development Programme and related projects, young people are empowered to become financially independent entrepreneurs and breadwinners for their families-drawing on the opportunities presented by the growth of the eco-tourism industry in South Africa. A summary of current projects is as follows:

• Pride & Imbewu Trails. A key point of the vulnerable youth programme is to build a programme with varying degrees of impact. We begin working with large numbers of youth through the Pride and Imbewu project which reaches roughly 1 000 disadvantaged scholars per year. These trails provide an entry level introduction to environmental education and the healing power of nature; ‘planting the seed’ for a passion for wildlife and wilderness. 


• Siyazenzela and Siyazenzela Plus. Siyazenzela was initially designed to ensure that youth interested in participating in the Umzi Wethu Academy were provided with the same intensive life skills and wellness interventions that were usually only available to those selected for the 12 month Academy programme. By introducing life skills training, environmental education and experience to what was essentially an employability skills training programme (aimed at addressing undermining attitudes prevalent amongst vulnerable youth in South Africa), WFA has transformed the programme into a holistic intervention critical in the development of sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable youth in SA.

• Umzi Wethu Training Academies. The Umzi Wethu model is a one year, social development and intervention programme for displaced and socially vulnerable youth (those who have lost one or both parents, are child headed households or live in households with no formal income). It draws on opportunities presented by gaps in various sectors including the hospitality and eco-tourism industry in South Africa, training junior chefs and waitrons, as well as field guides and field rangers. 


• Green Leaf Kitchen. Through Wilderness Foundation Africa’s Youth Development projects, excelling Umzi Wethu graduates are given the opportunity to develop specific entrepreneurial skills through the experiential setting of the Foundations successful SMME initiative, the Green Leaf Kitchen.


Umzi Wethu

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One of Wilderness Foundation Africa’s projects is the Youth Development programme, where we seek to deliver holistic skills development and education interventions to equip vulnerable youth to be economically active and environmentally responsible citizens.

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